from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A power-transmission device that allows the drive shaft of a motor vehicle to continue turning when its speed is greater than that of the engine shaft.
  • noun A clutch in the rear-wheel hub of a bicycle that permits the wheel to turn without pedal action, as in coasting.
  • intransitive verb To continue turning or spinning after disengagement from the drive mechanism.
  • intransitive verb To live or move freely and sometimes aimlessly or irresponsibly.
  • intransitive verb To operate independently or free of restraints.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To ride a bicycle with the wheel free from the control of the pedals; coast.
  • To free the wheel of a bicycle from the control of the pedals.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb Of a freewheel cycle, to run on while the pedals are held still.
  • intransitive verb Of a person, to ride a cycle of this manner; to coast in a vehicle having a freewheel. To ride a freewheel cycle.
  • intransitive verb (Mach.) To operate like a freewheel, so that one part moves freely over another which normally moves with it; -- said of a clutch.
  • intransitive verb to act without controls, external or internal; to live freely, independently, and without concern; -- of people.
  • noun (Mach.) A clutch fitted in the rear hub of a cycle, which engages the rear sprocket with the rear wheel when the pedals are rotated forwards, but permits the rear wheel to run on free from the rear sprocket when the pedals are stopped or rotated backwards. Freewheelcycles are usually fitted with hub brakes or rim brakes, operated by back pedaling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun a device in a transmission that disengages the driveshaft from the driven shaft when the driven shaft rotates faster than the driveshaft.
  • verb of a gear To continue spinning after disengagement.
  • verb of a cyclist To ride a bicycle without pedalling, e.g. downhill.
  • verb To operate a motor vehicle which is coasting without power, e.g. downhill.
  • verb by extension To operate free from constraints.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb coast in a vehicle using the freewheel
  • verb live unhurriedly, irresponsibly, or freely
  • noun a clutch (as on the rear wheel of a bicycle) that allows wheels to turn freely (as in coasting)


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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